Manchester City made the perfect start as they tried to reel in a 3-0 deficit from the first leg when Raheem Sterling set up Gabriel Jesus for a cool finish after only two minutes – but they never recovered from a contentious incident just before half-time that saw manager Pep Guardiola sent off by referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz from Spain.
With Guardiola away from his technical area, Manchester City lost momentum and the visitors delivered the killer blow of the away goal when, inevitably, Mohamed Salah chipped in his 39th goal of the season after a powerful run by Sadio Mane in the 56th minute. He celebrated, arms outstretched in front of Liverpool’s celebrating fans, for what felt like forever.
Roberto Firmino’s classy finish 13 minutes from time completed the formalities and Liverpool will now have their sights set on a sixth triumph in Europe’s elite competition.
There is no doubt that Klopp is proving Guardiola’s managerial nemesis. This was his eighth win over the Spaniard in 14 encounters. For City, it was a third defeat of a miserable week and their wonderful season is ending with a sense of anti-climax.
Although they only need two wins from six games to add the domestic championship to the Carabao Cup already on the sideboard, they were desperate to reach the latter stages of Europe’s top club competition.
For Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp’s side are back in Premier League action against Bournemouth on Sunday.